12. Los Angeles Angels – The team with a once in a generation talent doesn’t really have too many supporting players around him to make a dominant team. They have the worst farm system in the MLB and I can’t see them making anymore trades; so no reinforcements are coming, this is the team they’ll have all season. After Trout the two best hitters on this team are Albert Pujols, a first ballot hall of fame career but with his best years behind him, and Kole Calhoun, only an above average hitter and a name spelling nightmare. This team doesn’t have any depth and I have trouble seeing anyone on the current lineup breaking out or improving too much on their previous year, but the rotation is where I see the most room for growth. Garrett Richards wasn’t 100% percent last year and he was worth double the WAR just the year prior, I still see ace potential in him. Andrew Heaney has the pedigree and showed enough promise last year that it wouldn’t surprise me to see him as a top of the rotation starter soon. Jumble together the rest of the potential starters the Angels have available and I see something resembling a strong rotation. It should help that they have one of the best defensive shortstops now in Simmons. Mike Trout hasn’t been talented enough to carry this team to the playoffs every year, but he should be good enough to carry them within shooting distance, again. If he ever got injured this team would be in hell.
9. Toronto Blue Jays
I’m sorry. I want to rate them as the best team in the AL, but they’re the Blue Jays. As sure as Canadian maple syrup will be deliciously sticky this team will disappoint. Last year the Red Sox and Rays were neutered, the Yankee pitchers were dropping like flies, the Orioles lost “star” players Wieters and Machado, and this Jays team still blew it. I’ll give them one more chance though. Edwin Encarnacion is capable of hitting 16 HRs in a month and he’s reliably productive even through injuries. I could almost say the exact same thing about Bautista except his defense is better, he never earned a lovable error based nickname. Dickey isn’t the Cy Young guy he was in Queens, but him and Buehrle are reliable innings eaters. Shorty Marcus Stroman impressed last year, apparently Doc Halladay taught him a sinker and he was unhittable after that. Drew Hutcherson looks like a promising young flamethrower in the icy city of Toronto. This offense is nasty, they were in the top 5 in most offensive categories last year and now they added Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin, if everyone stays relatively healthy, they should be the best offense in the league. How did the Blue Jays not win the Donaldson trade again? “So you’re telling me you guys only want Brett Lawrie and a handful of our midlevel prospects?” Moneyball failed here. Jose Reyes is still toiling around as one of the best SS in the league, offensively at least, but 2B and the OF outside of Bautista are weaknesses. Good thing they signed oft injured Michael Saunders… Yeah this team is good, please don’t blow this Canada.
Instead of doing the more traditional rain dance, Bautista does the HR dance to help teammates.
Who I want to win the AL
1. Kansas City Royals
2. Oakland Athletics
3. LA Angels
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Detroit Tigers
12. New York Yankees
I really like Brett Gardner. He visited a kid in the hospital one time and the kids asked him to hit a HR for him. Gardner probably panicked for a second, but he agreed (what is he going to do, say no?) and if you know anything about Gardner then you know he isn’t the best HR hitter. But that night he got an inside the park HR, he didn’t look up at the 3rd base coach, he was sprinting home. He was doing it for the kids. Gardner just doesn’t seem like a typical Yankee does he? No power and homegrown, but at least he’s a lefty…not that he takes too much of an advantage of the short RF porch. So I’m glad the Yankees extended Gardner this offseason…and signed 2 other OFs. This OF is pretty good, let me just look at this infield…sweet Jesus it’s terrible. When Derek Jeter isn’t even your most injury risk player, see glass man Brain Roberts and not starting the season because already injured Teixeira, well let’s just say Kelly Johnson is starting to look like the rock this team needs, which isn’t reassuring anyone. The Brian McCain signing makes sense, but this is a guy who took years to figure out that maybe using contact lenses/getting lasik surgery could help him see a ball and hit it better. He even played catcher…at least he’s not as blind as Mark Reynolds. They desperately needed Tanaka, and got him. So their 2 best pitchers this year will probably both be Japanese. CC Sabathia got a whole lot skinnier, but he’s been getting a whole lot worse too. Maybe more weight equals better pitcher. Bartolo Colon knows what’s up, he’s even come into spring training overweight…I smell a Cy Young. He smell’s NY city pizza. Just the fact that Arod isn’t on this team makes me think the Yankee club house will be a whole lot better.
“You guys told me older players>younger players! What am I doing on the bench?!”